This might prompt a storm of controversy (or, at least it might if my blog was avidly read by Mormon housewives 😉 ), but nonetheless I have a comment on the evolution vs creation debate. Now, it seems to me that Intelligent design tries to attack science on its own grounds. This is an inevitable failure, the essence of science is to produce and reproduce findings that prove itself. God is never an object of knowledge for Science, at least since Kant proved that the existence of a God is not an object of knowledge for us. (I wonder if Scientists know how important Kant is to this contemporary debate?). However, a few things hinted at in articles describing the new “People and Pandas” publication, proposed to be taught in US biology classrooms, suggest a far more intelligent manner of inserting religion back into Science – but in a manner that relies on faith alone and thus does not tread on the feet of the scientists. The book claims that whether intelligent design comes from an outside intelligence, or if it is inherent to nature, is not a question Science can answer. Of course it is not a question science can awnser – no Scientists or atheist such as myself could disagree with such a proposition, except for the fact that the intelligent design argument contains positive content, refuted by scientific arguments. Thus, Spinoza should be the creationists idol (pardon the pun). Spinoza argued for a mechanistic universe in which God set things in first positions such that the world would play out as the best of all possible worlds. The loss of a mechanistic universe, given an infinite knowledge in the first position, does not seem like much of an impediment to this argument. This argumentis, of course, totally theological and something Scientists would not have the least interest in (even if we want to study before ‘the big bang’, the theologins need simply to imagine a more primordial “first condition”, and if Hawkings “No Boundary Condition” is correct (check your Book of the Cosmos), then they can simply imagine a non-temporal origin which just as much would not be a possible knowledge for Science.
Becoming Spinozians would bring perfect harmony between the need for a religiously grounded cosmos, and the need to teach actual science (which, read your Kuhn/Heidegger/Edinborough School – is not “objective” or even “critical” in the manner we generally imagine it, but rather a social act which relies on its own, sometimes changing, epistomologies). (Not that I advocate that we teach the Sociology of Scientific knowledge in highschool, although a little Kuhn woudn’t hurt).
And on the question of “doesn’t Kuhn refute the idea of a universe in-itself which science investigates?”, yes, but this is no imediment to believing in a noumenal, in-itself, super-sensible world which is a certain way.
Unless we become Hegelians. In such a case, all this fails.